Edit: Sorcerer Mickey did end up moving into the old lounge space/lobby for the now defunct Jack Sparrow show. That’s in between One Man’s Dream and Toy Story Mania.
We’ll take a walk around Hollywood Studios on the afternoon of Tuesday October 20th.
I hold a few unpopular theme park opinions, the “worst” of which is probably that I liked the Sorcerer’s Hat.
It’s gone now, leaving large swatches of discolored concrete in a variety of unattractive colors.
I’m not sure what’s so impressive about this big, ugly, green, mildew-stained mass of concrete.
If you liked it so much, you could just…you know…walk around the Sorcerer’s Hat and look at it.
If this was a new installation, it wouldn’t be unlike plopping the Transformers building in the middle of Universal Studios. It’s a concrete box.
I guess it doesn’t really matter. Enjoy your concrete and mildew for the six or seven days a year that there isn’t a huge stage sitting in front of it.
As previously reported, Jedi Training Academy is closed for another month or so for a retooling. Indiana Jones was closed for a few days for routine maintenance.
Star Wars is going to make Frozen look like The Emperor’s New Groove.
Speaking of an endless amount of merchandise, I saw a couple wearing these shirts and almost complimented them on what I assumed was homemade.
“Texture” seems to be in this year.
I’m guessing Michael Jackson’s sequined glove was the muse for much of the holiday collection.
I feel like you’d have a seizure if you stared at this for too long.
This is like three fourths of a shirt in all the wrong places.
The fireworks remind me of the Dexter opening sequence.
Min & Bill’s served a “Frankfurter in a Pretzel Roll” for some number of years. They’ve done away with that in favor of the $9.49 Smoked Sausage in a Pretzel Roll with Chips, which actually looks pretty good. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that the hot dog really is a foot long without the need for clever camera angles. It’s otherwise almost soup weather in Orlando, which is defined as anything under 85 degrees, so it may be time to give that clam chowder a shot. The seasonal shake was still strawberry, which seemed surprising considering 50’s Prime Time is doing Pumpkin.
Disney Parks Blog announced that Hollywood & Vine would be offering “Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine – Now Year ‘Round!” for dinner. That means the Disney Jr. characters will continue meeting at breakfast and lunch, but Minnie will take the reins come dinner time.
Minnie’s fabulous dinner parties celebrate the cheerful togetherness of the holidays, the glamour of Hollywood, the delight of spring, the excitement of summer and the frightening fun of Halloween. With each new season, look for unique music, décor, all-new costumes, menu items and interactive musical moments.
Reservations open October 27 for the next seasonal dine. From January 4 to March 20, Minnie will be hosting a dinner party celebrating the magic of the movies and the glamour of Hollywood.
Again, and as expected, there’s no mention of Jedi Mickey and Friends. The announcement does also point to Hollywood & Vine hanging around. There’s still some question as to whether Disney World will see its own version of Cars Land or another property.
That’s potentially good news for Gertie and the presence of water.
One positive of the Sorcerer’s Hat demise is the side-view across Echo Lake of the Earful Tower.
Nothing substantial appeared to be going on at the Stunt Spectacular, which hasn’t seen any meaningful changes in its 26-year run as far as I can remember. At least they didn’t add aliens from The Crystal Skull.
A preview for “We Love Disney” has arrived in the old Sounds Dangerous building.
Just in case you were concerned about getting your NE-YO fill on vacation. I have no idea who Tori Kelly is.
Refurbishment walls around the Jedi Training stage next to Star Tours, which is posting a 30-minute wait if memory serves.
Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios will see its last day of operation in its current form on October 4th. The show is expected to close for about eight weeks, reopening in the same location with a new villain and set from the Star Wars Rebels series. The general idea should otherwise remain the same. There is no official reopening day, but it should be by the end of November.
ABC resurrected The Muppets for a new series on ABC to mixed reviews. This article sums up the “controversy” well, I think.
I’ve seen exactly one episode and thought it was funny, though Mother would tell you that I have a strange sense of humor. This is the sort of joke that flies over the heads of kids, but most adults should get a chuckle out of it and it’s not at all unlike the Muppets of the past. If anything, it makes the show bearable for adults. Get it…bearable…
The Carrot Cake Cupcake is available for another week or so.
There’s a pretty big push for “Zipz Wine.” It is apparently the largest deal ever made on the show “Shark Tank” because the cup is resealable. As if anybody that drinks merlot isn’t putting back a “single serving” in one sip. I would guess the people that buy these sorts of plastic throwaway cups are the same ones that have a problem with Disney issuing new MagicBands for every resort stay. Also it seems vitally important to have a range of prices for the Bud Light and Yuengling.
Disney continues the roll out of “Snacks with Character,” here with two varieties of chips. At this price, they’re $44.16 per pound and I’m wondering why I’m not in the chips business.
The Muppets store otherwise remains a mishmash of Muppets stuff and items from the old Art Gallery store in Animation Courtyard.
Much of the Streets of America and old Backlot area otherwise seem set for imminent demolition.
Things are set for what is expected to be the last year for the Osborne Lights with the expectation that there will be an Annual Passholder preview in less than one week’s time.
I’m going to miss them. For the last few years, visiting on the first night has been the catalyst for “feeling” like it’s the holiday season.
See ya real soon.
That said, some of the Lights are kind of creepy in the daytime. The angels look like spiders, which I suppose is also festive for this time of year.
Watto’s Grotto still stands tall for the six to eight people that visit it daily in the old American Film Institute exhibit space.
I covered it in more depth last month in this post.
A cast member was playing with a Sphero BB-8, the $150 remote control droid that has proven to be one of The Force Awakens’ most popular toys. I knew the thing was small, but I still wasn’t prepared for just how small it was. It’s about the size of one of those apples they have to sell in the 3-pound bag for $1.99 because they’re too small to be put on the shelf otherwise.
Otherwise there’s a lot of stuff.
Hype from the trailer looked to double the number of shoppers here from two to three. Which I guess isn’t really doubling.
The BB-8 in stock. It looks like it would be fun for about five minutes.
Sorcerer Mickey is on the move again. You may remember he was displaced from the Animation Building when it closed to make way for the Star Wars Launch Bay. So they moved him over to the old Backlot Tour space, which has already been closed for over a year. Now he’s on his way over “near One Man’s Dream,” which I’m guessing is in the empty space to the left of what was once the Jack Sparrow interactive attraction thing.
Someday this space will be a lot more exciting as we enter Toy Story Land for the first time.
Walls are already up in the Toy Story Mania queue ahead of Disney attaching what is expected to be a third track. Soarin’ is closing for months on end, but hopefully Toy Story won’t see substantial downtime. Studios would be down to four rides…
The walls are likely why the standby queue is spilling out of the front entrance – something I hadn’t seen in what is probably years.
I met up with Dave, the co-author of our award-winning Disney World guidebook, and all-around-good-guy-author of yourfirstvisit.net (check out his review of the newly refurbished Pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort) last Monday at Epcot. One of the joys of celebrity Disney blogging is being able to have your business meetings at the Food and Wine Festival Canada booth. He brought up a good point about FastPass+ distribution rates – if 70%+ of people are experiencing an attraction with just a few minutes wait via FastPass+, how relevant is the standby wait?
This is the end of the FastPass+ line for Toy Story. Even so, your wait should be under ten minutes.
I may have missed a Mickey construction wall around here – I’m not sure. He could feasibly go into the old lounge space. Mickey did end up going into the old lounge space/lobby for the defunct Jack Sparrow show, so his line would be directly in front of us with the actual meet and greet inside on the right.
One Man’s Dream is still open, despite “rumors” of its imminent closure. Disney actually upgraded the projection system to show a preview for “The Good Dinosaur.”
Pop in while you still can. The movie preview runs every 15 minutes on the quarter hour.
Over at Animation Courtyard, Minnie greets guests right next to the exit for Disney Jr. Live on Stage.
You ideally want to get in line here about ten minutes before a Disney Jr. show begins. Otherwise you’ve got a couple hundred people streaming out and taking up space in line, not unlike the Festival of the Lion King/Character Trails during the Camp Minnie-Mickey days at Animal Kingdom.
Work continues on Star Wars Launch Bay, which should be ready to go in about a month’s time.
Apatosaurus plush – $39.95.
Photobombed by a pole.
Great Movie Ride is one of the attractions where wait times have suffered the most under FastPass+, not unlike other high capacity, historically secondary attractions that didn’t offer legacy paper FASTPASS. Here the wait is posted at 20 minutes at 6:10pm. There’s been a lot of chatter that wait times are “surprising” here in the fall, which is not a sentiment I would necessarily agree with. Or I should say, the website isn’t particularly surprised. Here I’ve charted the actual posted wait times (white) versus what the cheat sheet expected to see based on crowd level (green):
The cheat sheet assumes the Park in question is recommended. Studios was not recommended on this particular day, so it would make some sense to take the waits off the next crowd level up, but that’s not what I’ve done here. Muppet Vision’s 5-minute wait isn’t rocket science. You do see 20-minute posted waits over major holidays.
The average for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is within two minutes, but you can get a pretty good idea about how variable posted waits are by looking over the chart. Over a one-hour span from 12pm to 1pm, the wait goes from 70 minutes to 20 minutes to 30 minutes to 110 minutes to 50 minutes before topping out at a wild 150 minutes before falling back to 30 minutes. This is potentially one of the reasons why we see people quoting these super-high wait times on days that should otherwise remain “manageable.” It’s not a lie that Roller Coaster hit a wait of 2.5 hours, but that wait time is not particularly indicative about overall wait times.
I wouldn’t ordinarily point to a single refurbishment as having a dramatic impact on wait times, but Studios has so few attractions that taking Indiana Jones out of the lineup means you’re losing about 6,000 FastPass+ experiences that people are going to use elsewhere. Star Tours, which usually has a healthy enough capacity to withstand the influx of FastPass+ returners, looks to be particularly bogged down.
I had mentioned that Great Movie Ride wait times need to be revised higher for all crowd levels and we see that trend continuing here. Still, expected peak waits are 25 minutes and that’s what most of the day sees.
Tower of Terror is close. If I had used the wait times from the crowd level 7-8 chart, the average would have been 42 minutes or within one of expected.
Downtime at Toy Story Mania looks to have pushed up wait times later in the day, but there isn’t a day of the year where you’d want to be in the standby line in the middle of the afternoon.
I did the same thing for the Magic Kingdom day in the forums. Those numbers tracked almost exactly with what actually happened. The rest of the analysis is available in this forum post. But you’ll see that even on Mickey’s Party days, which are typically some of the least crowded of the year, we’re still expecting peak waits of 40 minutes at Haunted Mansion and 25 minutes at it’s a small world. This post, “How FastPass+ is Affecting Wait Times at Disney World Attractions” is over 18 months old now and describes how FastPass+ has doubled average and peak waits at most secondary attractions that didn’t historically offer the FASTPASS system. The following chart is from that post:
These days, waits are typically even higher as more people are aware of the FastPass+ system and everyone can book in advance, in addition to being able to secure 4th, 5th, and additional FP+ experiences at the in-park kiosks. Maximum FastPass+ distribution pushes up wait times as more people arrive with priority.
Here’s Epcot on a non-recommended day with a morning Extra Magic Hour. Wait times here track very closely with what was expected (in green) versus what actually happened (in white). Soarin’ sticks out as being ten minutes low with longer waits lingering later in the evening.
At Animal Kingdom, the expected wait time averages are within two minutes for all attractions with the exception of Kali River Rapids. We’re sort of in between “hot” and “cool” temperatures here in late October, which causes lower waits at Kali as it doesn’t get as hot as early in the day.
So there really isn’t anything here out of the ordinary.
Back to the Studios, it’s 6:15pm on Sunset Boulevard.
Catalina Eddie’s and Rosie’s All-American Cafe are closed for refurbishment through November 19th.
Walls encircle the area.
As always, you need to be mindful of whether or not the place you’re expecting to eat dinner at is open when you’re planning to visit. Seeing places like Pizza Planet, Backlot Express, and Studio Catering Co. close as early as 5:30pm often surprises people.
Tower of Terror was posting a 90-minute wait. The attraction continues to see wildly fluctuating wait times depending on how many elevators are in service.
A 40-minute posted wait at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, though I don’t see anybody snaking around outside in the queue. It looks like you can more or less walk on.
Sunset Showcase is the name of the new “flex theater” located at the end of Sunset Boulevard. You can sort of see it through the trees over the wall. Beginning December 5th: “The premier engagement at the new Sunset Showcase will be Club Disney, the hottest spot in town for kids and characters alike! You can join Mickey and the gang and take to the dance floor in this electric club environment, where a DJ Club Host spins the perfect playlist mix of your favorite Radio Disney Top 40 songs as the floor and walls come alive with vivid images from classic Disney animation.”
Not particularly exciting at the Studios yet, but they assure me that things are coming.